Mumbai: Aanand L Rai believes Shah Rukh Khan may have become a superstar but the actor still is the same Delhi boy at heart with humble beginnings and it was this quality that made him even more endearing for the filmmaker's next Zero.
In Zero, the 52-year-old actor, popular for portraying characters in love stories set abroad, plays a vertically challenged man who travels from Meerut to New York.
"I always felt he is a very basic Delhi boy. Whenever I saw him in those valleys of Switzerland, I felt 'Oh Delhi boy wahan tak pahuch gaya' (the Delhi boy has achieved great heights). I never felt he didn't belong there.
"That is the reason why I think he has a great connect in our country because he represents a basic middle class boy who has achieved it," Aanand told PTI when asked how does he see this transformation of the actor.
The movie reunites the cast of Jab Tak Hai Jaan with SRK, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif featuring in the film.
For the first time, Aanand has teamed up with a star like Shah Rukh. Asked if the stakes have become higher, the 46-year-old director says, "There were bright chances."
He is, however, relieved to have SRK on board.
"Shah Rukh makes me feel so comfortable and makes you feel like he is the most obedient actor you have ever worked with. I have found a friend, a big brother in him. I am enjoying the process and he is letting me fly," he says.
As of now, Aanand is gearing up for the Christmas release of the film which, he says, is "shaping up great" and is a "lifetime of experiences".
Besides direction, Aanand is backing a string of new films under his company Colour Yellow Productions - from the sequel of Happy Bhaag Jayegi, Anurag Kashyap's next Manmarziyan to a project helmed by Rajkumar Santoshi.
Talking about his production spree, he says, "I will never do a film just for the sake of it. If I have nothing to contribute, I won't do it. If I don't have anything to bring on the table something which will make it easier for the director or the team, there is no reason to make it."
"I am not doing films to make money. If you make a good film, you will make money but that is not the prime reason to go for a film. My prime reason is what am I bringing new for my audience," he adds.
For the Raanjhanaa director, the success or failure of a film does not account to much, but what matters is the intention with which it was made.
Aanand's turn as a producer happened with the hit Tanu Weds Manu and he says the decision was largely driven by the idea to back the content he believes in.
"Producing a film was not to make money but only to get the freedom to make the kind of films I want to. I don't look at my bank (balance) in terms of what I am getting or not getting," he says.
"I am just enjoying the process of telling the stories I always wanted to be a part of. As a director I know I can do very few, but as a production house, I can tell more stories, which is fun," he says.